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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

Democrats Divided on Their Path to 2016,” argue Karen Tumulty and Sean Sullivan at Washington Post Politics. But I would say it’s a good thing for two reasons: (1.) The best time for a big tent party to debate major policy differences is right after an election to help shape the agenda (2.) The progressive case against the spending bill has to be presented in a big way to affirm the left voice in the Democratic Party and move the needle of ‘centrist’ Dems leftward. A consensus presidential candidate will need some left cred. I’d worry more if there were no divisions being aired at this point.
No doubt many Democrats who voted for the spending bill agree with Elizabeth Warren’s analysis, but felt like killing the bill would let the more Republican incoming congress pass an even worse bill and would run the risk of blaming the government shutdown on Democrats. Such purely strategic considerations notwithstanding, E. J. Dionne, Jr. makes a worthy point in his latest syndicated column in noting “negotiating in this way rewards those who use shutdown threats as a form of hostage-taking. If the reasonable side regularly makes concessions to unreason, the extremists win.”
Wouldn’t it be great if some “political athletes” would get involved in voter registration and turnout campaigns?
From Nate Cohn’s “Obama’s Immigration Move Benefits Democrats Where It Counts” at The Upshot: “A month after President Obama’s decision to defer deportation and offer work authorization to millions of undocumented immigrants, his action not only looks like a winner, but it also seems to be a fairly promising sign for Democrats after the disastrous midterm elections last month…A Pew Research poll conducted last week showed that 81 percent of Hispanics supported the immigration action, as did 64 percent in a Gallup poll conducted between Nov. 24 and Dec. 8.”
Re Brendan Nyhan’s Upshot post “Our Unrealistic Hopes for Presidents,” going forward, presidential accomplishments will depend even more on the President’s party having a healthy majority in both the Senate and House.
At The Federalist W. Bradford Wilcox explains why “It’s Not Just The Economy Devastating Working-Class Families.” Wilcox says “Andrew Cherlin’s magisterial “Labor’s Love Lost: The Rise and Fall of the Working-Class Family in America” provides a cogent, concise, and largely compelling account of why marriage is floundering in working-class communities, and flourishing in more affluent, college-educated ones. His account shows that conservatives “who insist that family changes are wholly a matter of cultural shifts” are as wrong as progressives who insist that America’s family problem is simply a “matter of economics alone.” Instead, Cherlin deftly points out how shifts in the economy and the culture have together combined to undercut the health of marriage and the stability of family life in working-class communities across the country.”
So what is the Democratic left’s alternative economic agenda? Sen. Bernie Sanders rolls it out in 12 points at 21st Century Democrats.
In his New York Review of Books article “Now We Face 2016!,” Michael Tomasky notes, “It must be said that the Democrats’ main problem in this election was economic. While many indicators are positive, wages in the middle are flat. In fact, median household income was lower in 2012 ($51,017) than it was in 2008 ($53,644), not a record that would inspire workers to vote.”
Dream on.

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